|Canadian International School Volunteer Build|
On the 13th of November 2010, 24 students and 3 teachers of Canadian International School, Hong Kong, visited a little known village in Sri Lanka to help complete unfinished houses in the area. The 6 houses in question were in Samanthalayaya, a village in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. The team had arrived for a week, to make sure the work that needed to be done on these houses could be completed before they left.
“Why are these school children from foreign lands out in our field helping our own people to build their houses?” That was the question raised by the villagers of in and around Samanthalayaya in the last few weeks. The above question raised by the villagers prepared the groundwork for Habitat staff to explain the principles we work by, and why these school children and teachers from a distant country were willing to give some of their time in order to ensure a few of their fellow villagers would have a safe and secure place to live in. All the families in this build were homeowners who had been given small loans by Habitat to complete their incomplete houses, or to make additions to their houses so that they could accommodate the family better.
Almost all the owners of the houses that were built in this week long volunteer build are farmers. Because the month of November is the monsoon season for the area, most of the work done on the houses was inside the house. Students and teachers from Canadian International School hauled bricks, mixed cement, plastered walls and made floors for these 6 families, working tirelessly from morning to evening everyday. They even managed to completely build two new rooms for one house.
It is solely because the cost of labour is cut down greatly due the work done by volunteers, that these families who mostly live on low incomes can still see their dreams of a better home become an actuality. The experiences gained both by the families who saw their wish for a decent and safe home become a reality, as well as the students and teachers involved in the build, are definitely those that will last a lifetime.